Tributes to Sheffield disability rights campaigner Christine

Disability rights campaigner Christine Barton & husband Conrad Hodgkinson
Disability rights campaigner Christine Barton & husband Conrad Hodgkinson
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TRIBUTES have been paid to a teacher turned disability rights campaigner who has died aged 67.

Christine Barton helped to transform the way councils, social services and care workers deal with people with disabilities in Sheffield.

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1984 she fought to improve equality for others. Her determination helped her to remain in full-time work until 1993, in a career in which she became the first woman appointed head of science at a Sheffield school.

Her work as chair of Inclusive Living Sheffield, and more recently as a member of the national General Social Care Council, led to her being awarded the MBE in 2003.

Husband Conrad Hodgkinson said he was comforted by the fact Christine’s legacy will live on - not just for the disabled but in the public and health sectors too.

He said: “At the time her diagnosis seemed quite trivial - we used to play squash and go walking together. Gradually it got worse. It went from her using one crutch, to two, to a wheelchair.

“As a disabled person she began to face barriers - some physical, some to do with attitudes - and realised it was not just her affected by them. She wanted to use her knowledge to help other people overcome them. She was one of the sharpest knives you could possibly imagine.”

Towards the end of her life Christine, of Fulwood, was quadriplegic, incapable of any independent movement, but with some help was able to go on working with the health sector.

Mr Hodgkinson said: “Christine would not allow herself to be beaten. She wanted to improve things for disabled people in Sheffield and she has.”

A funeral service will be held at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium on Friday, April 5.